Written by & under Marketing.

marketingWith families returning home from summer vacations and gearing up-for-back-to-school, it’s important that your studio’s name and information is out in the community so that you have new students enrolling this fall. Even if you don’t have a huge advertising budget, there are creative ways to become a community presence that will cost you little to nothing.

Here’s a few affordable — and even free — ideas from my experience and observations of other successful studios in my community:

  • Sample Classes – I teach group piano classes, so during the first week of August, I set up shop at the community room of my local library and offer sample classes. I have my studio policy and registration forms to send home with families and provide a special discount offer for families who enroll within a week of attending a sample class. A friend of mine who teaches Music Together classes does her sample classes at the local Children’s Museum, who advertise them for her free of charge, since they enjoy having a musical activity to offer museum visitors.
  • Facebook Campaigns – Does your studio have a Facebook page? If it doesn’t already, it’s something you should really consider as it is free advertisement and gives you an opportunity to connect and share important information with your customers. Facebook also has very affordable advertising rates, where you can be in control of the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend. I recently launched a Facebook campaign where I indicated that I wanted the campaign to attend once I had spent $25. In 3 days, I met the $25 quota and doubled the amount of “likes” on my studio page, which also resulted in three new enrollments.
  •  Community Events – Does your community have any events that you could attend and hand out flyers or coupons to families? Our city has three outdoor family concerts in August where I do a flyer distribution. (Confession: I bring my 4-year-old to do the dirty work — who can refuse a flyer from a sweet little girl?) One of the art studios in our city sets up a booth at the farmers market, where they offer a free supervised craft project for kids while their parents shop.
  • Word of Mouth – I find that word of mouth is my most popular and effective way of advertising. When I think about it, it makes sense. When I want to know where to send my daughter for ballet, I ask friends who have their kids in ballet. I want the scoop from someone “in the know”. To promote this type of advertising, I offer a back-to-school incentive for my current students, and give them coupons to distribute with a special offer: new families who register receive $15 off the first month’s tuition and the family who referred them also receives $15 off.

The more community recognition you are able to garner for your studio, the more business you will gain. I am amazed at how many families have even hung on to a flyer they received at an event a year ago and saved until their child reached the appropriate age for lessons. Marketing your studio is important!

How about you?  Do you have any affordable and effective ways of gaining studio recognition in your community?